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Dry brining and wet brining are two popular ways to marinate chicken.

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So what are the differences between these two methods and which one will result in a better chicken dish? Let’s find the answer in the article below.

What is dry brine chicken?

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Dry brining is actually a culinary term for marinating chicken with a lot of salt.

It is an easy way to infuse the meat with flavor from salt and/or other dry spices without adding any liquid.

Dry brine chicken also keeps the meat moist during cooking so you don’t have to worry about constantly adding more oil or butter as with traditional cooking recipes.

Depending on the size of the chicken or the cut, the dry brining time can vary.

Normally, it will take about eight hours or an overnight marinating when it comes to dry brining a whole chicken.

You don’t need to rinse the chicken after dry brining it.

Dry brining chicken is a simple method that doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or complicated steps.

All you need is some salt, sugar, pepper, or any other spices, mix them up, and rub all the surfaces of the chicken.

What is wet brine chicken?

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Wet brine chicken is a moist and flavorful variation of the traditional dry brine chicken.

The process of wet brining involves submerging raw chicken in water, salt, sugar, spices, and herbs for 12 to 24 hours before cooking in an oven or fryer.

Normally, you can only need a sealable bag to wet brine a cut of chicken, but you will need a big pot and a lot of water to marinate the whole chicken in seasoned water.

The spices should be completely dissolved in lukewarm water so that the flavor can penetrate into the meat while marinating.

However, before placing your chicken into the liquid, make sure the water is cold or cooled by adding some ice cubes to it.

This helps prevent creating bacteria while the chicken is brined.

What are the differences between dry brine and wet brine chicken?

Dry brining chicken and wet brining chicken are two methods to brine chicken.

There are some key differences between these two ways of marinating, as listed in the comparison table below:

 ComparisonDry brine chickenWet brine chicken
IngredientsSalt, sugar, spices, and herbs per preferenceWater, salt, sugar, spices, and herbs
MethodRubbing the chicken with the mixture of spicesCompletely dissolve spices in lukewarm water Add some ice cubes to the liquid to cool it down before placing the chicken into the water
TimeAt least eight hours or overnightAt least 12 hours to 24 hours
TextureLess juicy than wet brine chickenJuicier
TasteMore flavorfulLess flavorful than dry brine chicken

What are the similarities between dry brine vs wet brine chicken?

Although dry brine and wet brine are two different methods to marinate chicken, they do share some similarities because they are supposed to make your chicken dish taste better.

1. Dry brine chicken and wet brine chicken can work on different cuts of chicken

Dry brining or wet brining can apply to any cut of chicken.

That means you can dry brine or wet brine the whole large chicken, or just work on a single cut like chicken breast, chicken wings, chicken drumsticks, or chicken thighs.

Remember to adjust the spices depending on the size of the chicken to get rid of tasteless or too salty meat.

2. Dry brine chicken and wet brine chicken are juicier and more flavorful than regular chicken

The main purpose of dry brining or wet brining is the same.

These methods help your chicken dishes be juicier in texture and more flavorful in taste compared to regular chicken that is directly cooked without being marinated.

Which one is better?

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In general, the dry brining and wet brining methods are both efficient to marinate chicken.

It can be done at home with simple ingredients and equipment without any fuss.

If you want either a juicier chicken or the one that tastes better, experiment with both types of techniques until you find the right method for your needs.

So after all, will you stick with dry brine chicken or wet brine chicken?

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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